Monday, May 25, 2015

And still counting (7058-7087)

white chip chocolate cookies
laundry--cleaned, folded, put away
the girls' help

cold water
lemon water
the yummy coconut milkshake drink
good workouts
weeding in the garden

vegetable plants growing
beautiful blossoming baskets of flowers
buttercups carpeting the field
night owls
good reads

timely messages
answered prayers
decisions and new paths
my dad's knit blankets on chilly days
how good Shane's hugs feel

Jiliann at our table three days in a row
sunlight reaching and rippling through the tree leaves in the garden
local wine
last papers to grade
love stories

mulch to spread
sore legs
good sleep
camera 2

laser tag for Lanie and Jiliann
a leisurely talk with a friend

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Saturday dog bone skittering dance ... I came downstairs just as Shane was throwing the bone into the yard for the dog. Holiday weekend, laid out long. Sunshine.


Lanie had a friend sleep over two nights. The first afternoon, Jiliann said, "It's only 2:40? We still have fifty hours together!" And I smiled at how they make the most of the time they have.


Good workouts all week. But I did bake white chip chocolate cookies for the kids yesterday when Viviana couldn't make a play date and Erin was heart broken. I let her lick a mixer. And I joined her outside with one of my own. And then we all had two cookies each. Yeah. Totally worth it. They taste like pudding.


Finished the Hunger Games books last night. Snuck in a book Lanie recommended the other night too (A Face First by Cummings). A few lined up for my own enjoyment, and Gilgamesh waiting on the school room table, reminding me that September isn't far away. 


My friend Nora introduced me to a yummy drink:

1 cup coconut milk
2 T peanut butter
1 T cocoa powder
1 banana
some ice cubes

It was my breakfast and lunch the other day. Yummy. I froze the banana and used canned light coconut milk. Thanks, Nora!


The trees are lush and full again. The captain's bell rings out. I hear the summer laughter of kids scootering and biking in the yard. Evening walks holding hands with Lanie. The simple satisfaction of dirt under my nails. Birdsong and blossoms. And knowing soon, the black raspberries will be ripe and ready for little hands (and big hands too) to pluck.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Taking back the home

Our first Monday home, I slept in till seven. How delightful! I had two cups of coffee, and planned out what needed to be done.

Five loads of laundry, clean bathrooms, change bed linens, sweep floors and vacuum, clean off counter tops, remove last year's school books from the shelves and get ready for the next load, finish up grading papers, calculate grades, purge papers we aren't saving.

Not all of this got done, but we made a big dent in it. I started a summer chart for the girls. They still have their regular chores (trash, feeding pets, dishwasher), but now they earn t.v. time by keeping rooms clean and helping with laundry, and they earn other screen time with small jobs like watering new plants, sweeping the walkway and patio, vacuuming rooms, etc.

Lanie loves lists and plowed through hers immediately. She likes the sense of accomplishment. Erin procrastinated and then it was hot and the patio was too hot for her feet and the air was too hot for work. So I helped her out and she earned some time. Some of the tasks she liked, just not ones that made her sweat.

Erin is working through math this summer and we are memorizing states and capitals as a family. Lanie said to me Sunday night, "I can't wait to go to bed tonight because I know I don't have to get up early on Monday!"

And I didn't feel so bad that I stayed up late reading a book I wanted to read.

I'm glad to be taking back my home that a school year bumped to the back burner. And glad to have helper kiddos so that it doesn't all fall on my shoulders.

Got a text from a friend who is finished with her co-op too.

"Play date this week?"


Not scheduling much of anything else because I really want my house back first.

And still counting (7027-7057)

a waffle cook off
the Chanticleer
Julius Caesar in a history read aloud with Erin
knowing there is a story within a story

a great skit
a graduation to host
sunny skies
marigolds gifted from Sandy
that mama's tears

paths that crossed
an impression from a Bible reading that wouldn't let go of me
the prompt to pray for open eyes
and how you showed me the story within the story
her repentant heart and tears

coffee in the afternoon with moms from co-op
an evening getaway with Julie and Judah
his sweet smiles
a field trip to the planetarium
and the cat nap under stars

Teena's flexibility this weekend
the video sermon on the importance of choosing friends wisely
Lanie next to me during worship
and all the songs about vision and open eyes
that you speak to me in ways I recognize

bowling with my man and kids
a birthday dinner to celebrate him--Burnin' Love style
a visit with David
how he kissed me goodbye
and wouldn't let go of my hand

the green season
and summer stretched out before us

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Six and two

So long, six and two. Last day of school. A fall that came too soon, a winter that lasted too long, a spring that seemed to languish and a mad dash to the finish.

The end-of-year program was a great success. I loved the Medieval Great Books skit--the kids did so well. Loved the little tune L'Arbre Fee de Bourlemont.

My kids and I worked on thank you notes for tutors and yesterday I baked cookies and read through the last parts of The Canterbury Tales. Lost miserably to a student in a waffle bake-off, but what fun!

Said goodbye to some moms, calling out to them in shouts of happy wishes, arms waving, and loud love. I know what that feeling is like, to know the end like that and drive away from a piece of something--one mom wiping tears from her face as she won't be back next year. So many families like worker ants, loading cars, heading out for a summer vacation that begins now. I just stayed in the moment, watching those moms drive off, being present in the goodbye.

"Did you see her face?" I asked a mom, but maybe she didn't with all the families passing by.

Sweet sister, I hope we meet again. I won't forget your tears or your heart.

The day had its trying moments. I still have papers to grade and reports to write up. But I look around at paper piles and book piles and I know that someday soon, I will take back my house. Lanie put a book in front of me that she just finished and wants me to read. I told her I'd start it tonight.

Lanie goes to seventh. Erin goes to third. I head into Ancients.

But first, summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mighty oaks

This year there's an abundant outcrop of oaks like I've never seen. Unlike the maples that I can easily pluck from the gardens as they begin to emerge, the oaks are a lot different. They don't pluck. There's a main root that's as thick as a stick that burrows down deep into the ground.

I looked around the yard at the oaks that tower above my rooftop. Mighty oaks. I thinned out this year's bounty, holding back on some to gift away or grow to maturity, all the while thinking on the words. I searched today and found them in Isaiah 61. God always takes my breath away. These verses root down deep too, and I savor them like a sweet secret, thankful.

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
    though they have been deserted for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
    They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
    and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
    ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
    and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice.
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
    and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
    the Lord has blessed.”
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.
11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
    Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
    with plants springing up everywhere. Isaiah 61:1-11, NLT.

Monday, May 11, 2015

And still counting (6986-7026)

heart-to-heart talks with my favorite hearts
a card in the mail from Marshall's mom
an evening walk with Lanie, holding hands
colorful flowers in the window boxes
hanging baskets on sale

Lake and Lodge coffee
a Friday to sleep in
two days left of co-op
a very old cat
books stacked to read

patio furniture from a friend
seating in a cozy nook
the smell of the field on cutting days
a dogwood, unexpected
little marigolds along the walkway

a bunny for Lanie to chase
baby foxes playing in the driveway that made Shane laugh and want to show me
summer business of regrouping and relaxing
an ancient booklist
how she likes to sit in "big" church with us

the quick chat with Pamela
color kits for summer fun
favorite things about Great Books
Linda at the table
dirt under my nails

a walkway, revealed
overgrown gone
little succulent to gift away
texts with friends on Mother's Day
lots of garden work finished

sunny skies
cream soda
scenic routes
a great day for a piano recital
Erin's debut

how I could see her hands on the keys as she played
how my heart swelled for her as she played
ice cream scoops afterwards
and a little trophy
Shane and the shirt

the family I've got

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's day

Erin climbed into bed this morning to cuddle. Then we went downstairs and the girls gave me cards they made. Enjoyed two cups of coffee, and Shane wondered what the ruckus of birds was by the window. We went closer to check it out and found a snake in the branches. Woods life.

He wore the "I love my awesome wife" shirt and got lots of hugs and kisses for it.

"What do you want to do today?" he asked.

There was a nursery I wanted to check out, but nothing pressing. Before I know it, he's got a chainsaw and we're yanking the landscaping away from the front of the house. (Except for the snake tree. Although the snake was gone, we are leaving that tree for the time being. Many of the trees had grown too large and were beyond my shaping skills. We, also being fans of the neat-and-tidy, wanted to redesign the front landscaping to be more, you know, neat and tidy.)

I planted a tomato plant, two herbs and jalapeno and green pepper plants. We brought up the patio dining set. I weeded the left half of the front garden and turned mulch. The kids brought us water refills.
"Funny how we sometimes don't even plan for it and then get into something big," he said. We did that so whimsically with the school room remodel. And now, today, with landscaping--always a sometime in the future project. It was such a relief to us both.

"I've got three words for you: bump and scootch." It's code for quasi-kitchen remodel. Probably won't happen until I get my hands on a sledgehammer.

We eventually did get to the nursery, but just looked around. We drove by David and Anita's to drop a little something off for her. On a scenic route home, we passed by a home and I looked longingly into the yard: fenced in, full of children and family and a hammock--all the fixings for summer memories. I hope we have that some day, when the kids come back here with their families and we enjoy being with each other. I always wonder if I would have had something like that with my mom if she had lived, but I don't think so.

When we got home, Lanie shucked corn and helped me get dinner together: bbq chicken, corn, herbed noodles, salad.

"I had a really nice Mother's Day," Shane said.

"Yes, you did," I said, smiling and he laughed.

It was a great day being together. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Lanie started with Miss Joanne when she was nine years old in third grade. Erin started this past year and had her first recital today, at the end of second grade and eight years old. She could hardly sleep last night. Woke up at six this morning and was napping on the couch by 10:30 a.m. The butterflies were fierce in her.

To Shane she said, "You've never had to play in front of THOUSANDS of people before!" (I'm not exactly sure where she got the idea it was so large!)

Normally, the mood is tense before a recital, and as we left the last lesson a few days ago, bickering kids and sass taking on a whole new level. But today? Amazing. They both had a case of the nerves, but I could hear them giggling and playing around on the piano and having a great time. Lanie was such a great sister to Erin today, and I'm sure the fun calmed her nerves too.

Erin got a trophy as a beginner player. Lanie was recognized for memorizing one of her recital pieces. Afterwards, we went out for ice cream and all thought banana fudge was the best.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Should be mopping

Of all the things I should be doing, I was taking pictures, drinking coffee and listening to music.

note to self: I like the blues better

Linda is coming for dinner tonight and we are having kabobs on the grill.

I should probably vacuum and mop the floors.

Two (co-op) days to go till summer, and a list of shoulds I look forward to completing.

I love home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Life is good

We were walking into the store and she was exhaling chatter-thoughts to me.

"I like the ones that you can tell have been worn a lot because I just imagine all the good memories someone had," she said. She was excited, and I smiled at the silver lining at second hand.

We looked through racks in rainbow colors, and she picked out a purple shirt and held it out for me to see--little campfire on the front and we thought of bonfires in the yard.

That girl.

We picked out several shirts and she exclaimed, "Mom! Don't spend all your money on me!"

She went into a changing room to try on a shirt, though it wasn't necessary. She chatted me all the while, and it was such a girls'-day-out kind of thing.

When we got home, she showed Shane all the things she got. I handed a few shirts to Lanie, and she held them close.


Last days of schooling. Geography. Thank you notes. Library trips.


Erin helped me planting marigolds and planter flowers and impatiens. She happily sloshed alongside me with a watering can full to welcome new plants home with a celebratory drink.

Planter flowers. I have no idea what they are called.

She was wearing the "Life is good" shirt.

"I've made a lot of happy memories in this shirt already," she told me.

"You did?" I asked, smiling.

"Yes!" And she told me all about a happy day playing, blowing bubbles, helping in the garden. I think I even heard her playing a harmonica earlier.

Monday, May 4, 2015

And still counting (6962-6985)

apple blossom canopy
lunch with medieval kids
a bat out of hell
leftover raspberry stuff to sneak with Shane

his joyful heart
sunny skies
bird song
tadpoles on the pool cover
lightning shows outside of big Panera windows

dinner out with Lisa
oh, creamy tomato soup
a husband who waited up for me
a hound dog in the sun
cloud art with Erin

how her bicycle sparklers shimmer in the sun
fresh cut grass
purple phlox
a chat with Marshall's mom

Friday nights
sleep-in Saturday mornings
woods wrangling with Shane
a sunny, sunny day
sweet tea